Who came up with the term, “working mother?” Was it someone who assumed that mothers without a typical 9-5 job didn’t work? Oh sure, I know the phrase “for a living” is usually included to describe a typical working mother, and that’s probably what they meant, these scholars who coined the term. But what about those mothers who don’t have an office job and don’t receive a paycheck every other week? Does that mean they do not work? Hardly.
Working mothers come in all forms. They can be stay-at-home moms (SAHM), work-at-home moms (WAHM), office workers, sales people, CEOs, entertainers and even athletes. And thanks, in part, to the awesome technology available today, it’s never been a better time for women to establish themselves in whatever they want to do.
Just look at all the Momtrepreneurs and Mommy bloggers out there. These women have several things in common: a passion for what they want to do, and limited time in between naps, carpool, baseball games and ballet to get it done. Heck, the bloggers even have their own annual Mom 2.0 Summit. Many of these women have taken their ideas and turned them into very successful ventures. They’re all over the social media world through blogs, Facebook, Twitter and their own websites.
Having a child later in life (gasp – 43 years old!), I already had a very established career in public relations. I remember when I first told people I was pregnant they didn’t say things like, “oh, are you going to quit working,” or “I’m sure you’re going to slow down.” Instead I got, “well, this is going to be your only child, right?” and “I can’t imagine YOU not working.” They obviously knew how driven I was in my career and more often than not, probably heard me say something like, “I’m definitely coming back to work or I’ll go nuts!” Yes, I actually said that at the time. In fact, I only took 6 weeks off for maternity leave. What was I thinking, you ask? I have no idea!
Like many women, working and establishing a career is in my fabric. Adding raising a family to the mix was a bonus. I couldn’t help it. I looked at my own mother as a role model. She had a successful career in teaching and raised a great family. Her mom worked and raised a great family too. I’m sure her mom’s mom worked and also raised a great family. You do what you know.
Trust me, I know how women who work outside of the home can sometimes view the SAHM; I used to be one of them. But the obvious point I missed was the fact that it really doesn’t matter what type of “working” mom you are in the end. We are all in a sisterhood of working mothers, no matter what it looks like on the outside. I’m convinced that in the coming years we’re going to see some of the most successful businesses created by the Mom’s of the world.
Now that I’m a WAHM, I feel I have the best of both worlds: a chance to continue my passion for what I love to do professionally, and the opportunity to have a front row seat in my son’s life as he grows up through the years.
So the next time you hear the phrase “working mother,” don’t assume that mom is sitting in the corner office of her career. She could be standing right next to you on the playground.
Happy Mother’s Day to the entire Sisterhood of the Working Mothers…especially mine!